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issue 02/2021

  • Text
  • Balance
  • Moulding
  • Carbon
  • Recycling
  • Plastics
  • Sustainable
  • Products
  • Renewable
  • Biobased
  • Packaging
  • Materials
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Injection Moulding Basics: Mass Balance

Materials Cost-effective

Materials Cost-effective and scalable Highly selective catalysts enable scale and cost advantages for new bioplastics Novomer, a sustainable materials company pioneering a family of high-performance polymers and other chemicals from renewable feedstocks, has announced the successful demonstration of the industry’s lowest-cost polymerization process to make compostable polymers that satisfy brand owner requirements for circular economy solutions. The compostable polymer, trade-named Rinnovo, will use Novomer’s highly efficient catalyst technology to manufacture world-scale production quantities. Now proven at demonstration scale, the material is being manufactured in sample quantities at Novomer’s Innovation Center in Rochester (NY, USA). The successful demonstration of the technology will enable Novomer to begin the design and engineering of a commercial facility, allowing Novomer to commence construction of an intended 80,000-tonnes facility in 2022. “As a company focused on scalable materials for the circular economy, Novomer has committed significant resources towards its mission to cost-effectively address the plastic waste challenge,” said Novomer CEO Jeff Uhrig. “Further, the seemingly unstoppable rise in ocean plastic waste and microplastics will require a portfolio of solutions to confront a wide variety of regional, techno-economic, and socio-economic challenges. We are beyond excited that our technology can lower the cost barrier to implement changes needed in the plastic waste management infrastructure.” Rinnovo 3HP H1000 XP (the first to come out of the Rinnovo family) is a high molecular weight poly(3-hydroxypropionate), a homopolymer of betapropiolactone. The homopolymer has attractive mechanical and physical properties that make it suitable for packaging and other thermoplastic applications. It is an aliphatic polyester that is stable and easily transportable. It is a polymer that is synthesized using proprietary and highly selective catalysts, enabling scale and cost advantages over incumbent routes to compostable polymers. It is produced via Novomer’s patented CoEth technology which is designed to convert ethylene oxide and carbon monoxide to produce lactones. The demonstration plant utilizes a low-cost initiator to facilitate ring-opening polymerization. Under the conditions of chain propagation, Novomer has achieved molecular weights required for commercial applications. Rinnovo 3HP H1000 XP can be used as an alternative to conventional, petroleum-based polymers, including polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Potential applications include packaging films, agricultural films, and waste collection. Further, it has excellent oxygen barrier properties, biodegradability, and reduced environmental impact. Rinnovo 3HP H1000 XP has a structure similar to those of two other aliphatic polyesters, polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and polycaprolactone (PCL), and can be degraded in the same, diverse, set of environments. “Brand owners need assurances that compostable solutions can be cost-effective and scaled,” said Uhrig. “This is an exciting first step to begin the process of product performance validation and application development.” Rinnovo has been tested and meets the requirements of ASTM D6400, the U.S. standard specification for compostable plastics, along with the European EN13432 standard for compostable and biodegradable packaging. Rinnovo is flexible and provides over 500 % elongation for the production of blown film while also offering higher tensile strength than polyethylene (PE). Novomer sees broad use for Rinnovo compostable polymers in a range of applications including bags, labelling, agricultural films, and waste packaging. “Ultimately, the mission of Rinnovo materials is not only to provide sustainable end-of-life outcomes for polymers but support even broader initiatives to enhance the collection and composting of food and agricultural waste, improve soil quality, and reduce global emissions,” said Uhrig. AT www.novomer.com Typical Properties of Rinnovo TM 3HP H1000 XP P3HP Tg (°C) ~(25 - 15) Tm (°C) ~70 - 80 Tensile Modulus (MPa) 600 - 1000 Tensile Strength @ break (MPa) Tensile Elongation @ break (%) 20 - 30 400 - 800 Oxygen Permeability (g 25u/m 2 /24h) 0.1 - 10 Yield stress (MPa) 15-25 Toughness (Nmm/mm 3 ) Compostability EN13432 Compostability ASTM D 6400 80-150 Passed Passed 38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/21] Vol. 16

Materials New barrier film structure for compostable food packaging SP Group (Singapore) and Nurel Biopolymers (Zaragoza, Spain) present a new multilayer film structure, with high oxygen barrier, sealing, and transparency properties whose main advantage is the compostability of the container. The new European directives aim to reduce waste going to landfill by 10 %. Many containers that are currently on the market cannot be recycled due to their technical requirements and end up in landfills. This is the case of many barrier film structures; they are very complex multilayer structures that require various types of polymers to achieve the necessary properties to preserve food. Until now, biopolymers have only been used for the packaging of short-live foods, such as bread, fruits, or vegetables. Thanks to the collaboration of SP Group and Nurel, biopolymers can be used in the manufacture of barrier films that preserve the life of complex foods such as salmon. Currently, it is also being marketed for spices and is in tests for energy bars, nuts, or salt, among other foods. The new films manufactured by SP Group with Inzea Biopolymers, can be processed in conventional facilities, have a high barrier performance, are transparent and sealable, have a high biobased content , and are suitable for food contact. At the end of their life cycle they can be managed together with the organic waste; an all-in-one solution that until now had not been achieved. Maria de Guía Blanco, R&D Project Engineer at SP Group, “This film meets all the quality requirements for the packaging of foods such as smoked salmon, its processing has been very simple, and the oxygen permeability results are excellent, comparable to EVOH high barrier structures.” Maria José Alfonso, head of developments at Nurel Biopolymers, highlights that the biggest challenge of this project was to achieve a compostable material that could be processed without difficulty in any conventional blown film extruder maintaining its transparency and providing high oxygen-barrier properties. The main advantage of this new development is at the container’s end-of-life. The film is manufactured with biopolymers, with high biobased content and is compostable, complying with the OK COMPOST under the criteria of the ISO-EN 13432 and ASTM 6400 standards, which ensures that after 3 months it completely biodegrades. Thus, this type of films should be deposited in the organic waste container for its recovery as compost. AT www.nurelbiopolymers.com www.spg-pack.com Magnetic for Plastics www.plasticker.com • International Trade in Raw Materials, Machinery & Products Free of Charge. • Daily News from the Industrial Sector and the Plastics Markets. • Current Market Prices for Plastics. • Buyer’s Guide for Plastics & Additives, Machinery & Equipment, Subcontractors and Services. • Job Market for Specialists and Executive Staff in the Plastics Industry. Up-to-date • Fast • Professional bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/21] Vol. 16 39

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